Personal story from a reader: CLEAN for 4 years from IV heroin addiction by using Cannabis

The following comment was posted tonight to this article: Marijuana Treats Addiction

I’ve been using cannabis to curve my appetite for Opiates. I was an IV opiate user for 18years. After many treatments (inpatient varying from 1 to 6months), methadone, 12 step follow through attempts. My M. O. was kick feel better put pieces of life back together than as soon as I felt better I would lose it all again. This sounds overdramatic because it was, I became unbelievably discouraged with life. I have always loved marijuana but I was always told all or nothing. I would find smoking took away my cravings? The problem guilt for lying to those around me in recovery who would have not have been OK with me using more then asprin. Finally I excepted I was going to die with a needle in my arm or I’m going to get stoned when I want and fuck dishonesty and guilt! I’m OK with needing something, I was rapidly running out of time trying to adapt to spiritual principles that people have recovered with successfully. I haven’t had a spike in my vain or any opiod use for 4 years now. After spending 20 going back and forth from clean to using with never more then a total of 118 days consecutively without relapse. It was my ego not wanting to admit I couldn’t do what others could on there spiritual journey of recovery. Once I stop caring what you thought and respected my choice I was free. . Now it’s amazing to have so many folks with similar pasts experiencing the same results. Fellowship is important and as more people realize the lesser of two evils is OK the larger it gets! – anonymous

A neurobiologist says medical marijuana could solve the US opioid abuse crisis

Ephrat Livni for QZ dot com

Americans are in pain. Over 2.5 million people in the US are addicted to opioids, the US Department of Health and Human Services reports. About 80 die daily from opioid overdoses. It’s gotten so bad that even conservative state legislators want to legalize medical marijuana, arguing it’s a safer, less addictive pain killer.

Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscience, psychiatry, and pharmacology professor at Mount Sinai Hospital’s medical school in New York, writing in Trends in Neuroscience on Feb. 2, agrees. She believes weed legalization can lessen opioid addiction dramatically, and that scientists must join the cultural conversation about cannabis. She writes:

Epidemics require a paradigm shift in thinking about all possible solutions. The rapidly changing sociopolitical marijuana landscape provides a foundation for the therapeutic development of medicinal cannabidiol to address the current opioid abuse crisis. We have to be open to marijuana because there are components of the plant that seem to have therapeutic properties, but without empirical-based research or clinical trials, we’re letting anecdotes guide how people vote and policies.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive element in marijuana, can treat opioid addiction, says Hurd. Studies support the claim: CBD has been shown to attach to different receptors in the brain and reduce opioid cravings for weeks after ingestion, according to animal research. “Preclinical animal models have long demonstrated that, in addition to reducing the rewarding properties of opioid drugs and withdrawal symptoms, CBD directly reduces heroin-seeking behavior,” she explains. (Heroin is an illegal, street opioid; there are other legal prescription opioids sold in pharmacies.)

Plus, because CBD produces no high, its legalization isn’t likely to lead to a black market, Hurd notes. Illegal pain pill sales and use are common, on the other hand, and result in criminal charges.

But scientists haven’t been able to test whether the effects seen in animal models would translate to humans, because marijuana research in the US has been hampered by the federal government’s classification of the drug as a Schedule I substance with “no currently accepted medical use,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Cannabis is illegal nationally, although it is increasingly permitted for medical purposes in many states, with various limitations.

There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests replacing opioids with medical marijuana would work. Hurd notes that states with legal medical marijuana have seen a reduction in painkiller prescriptions, addiction, and associated deaths. For example, a study from Columbia University researchers last year found that states with legal medical marijuana had fewer traffic fatalities associated with opioids; this research team also argued that medical marijuana legalization could lead to a reduction in prescription painkiller addiction.

The DEA seems increasingly inclined to agree that CBD, at least, has a medical use. In December, the agency announced a new code for the extract in the Federal Register, designed to expedite cannabis extract research for medical purposes. “From a practical standpoint, we are giving priority, actually, to those researchers who are conducting research with marijuana extracts, [which] the internal code will allow us to track and prioritize,” DEA spokesman Russ Baer told US News & World Report. “We recognize there have been some studies that have been promising…and we want to be able to support that ongoing scientific research, particularly as it relates to marijuana extracts.”

Great interview on medical marijuana and CBD

Cops Just Got Surveyed About Weed — and the Results Will Surprise You

January 11, 2017   |   Carey Wedler
(ANTIMEDIA) A majority of American police officers now believe cannabis laws should be relaxed, and nearly one-third support full legalization of the plant, according to a new survey.

A Pew Research survey released on Tuesday combined the results of two surveys that questioned nearly 8,000 police officers across 54 police departments and over 4,500 private citizens. According to Pew’s findings, “about two-thirds of police (68%) and a larger share of the public (84%) believe the country’s marijuana laws should be relaxed, and a larger share of the public than the police support legalizing marijuana for both private and medical use (49% vs. 32%).”

The survey also found an age disparity when it comes to views on weed:

“As with younger adults generally, officers younger than 35 are more likely than those ages 50 to 60 to favor permitting personal and medical use of marijuana (37% vs. 27%). Among the public, a majority of adults (63%) under the age of 45 favor legalization.”

In a country where police have conducted an increasing number of SWAT raids to search for illegal drugs, these new figures are surprising, though ultimately expected considering the public’s overall acceptance of cannabis.

The DEA’s annual Drug Threat Assessment report has shown a decline in police concerns over marijuana over the last several years. In 2015, just 6 percent of cops believed cannabis posed the “greatest drug threat.” In 2016, that figure dropped to 4.9 percent. In contrast, 44% percent of cops believed heroin was the biggest danger last year.

Though two-thirds of law enforcement still hesitate to advocate full-on legalization, one-third who embrace it join other anti-prohibition police advocates. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, known as LEAP, campaigns to scale back the war on drugs and educate the public and policymakers about its failures. Diane Goldstein, a retired Lieutenant Commander for the Redondo Beach Police Department, now serves as a LEAP board member and is not surprised that a majority of officers still oppose recreational legalization.

Law enforcement continues to represent an outlier view on this issue because police are trained with outdated, unscientific, drug war-oriented materials,” she said. Unsurprisingly, for example, George Hofstetter, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, likened marijuana to alcohol last year, claiming it impairs driving. However, a recent federal study found not only that cannabis users were less likely to crash than alcohol users, but also that the former were no more likely to get into accidents than sober drivers.

Regardless of some officers’ outdated knowledge on the plant, Goldstein believes the recent poll “reflects a positive attitude shift when you see that it’s only 1 in 3 police officers who believe marijuana should remain illegal.

Though a majority of police still believe the plant should not be legalized for recreational use, a majority are increasingly questioning the laws they are tasked with enforcing. Some are even experiencing the benefits of marijuana themselves, including one former officer who has found relief from advanced Parkinson’s disease through cannabidiol (CBD) oil.

After the oil soothed his debilitating symptoms in a matter of minutes, he expressed his frustration with current laws:

A person like me could really use marijuana. And it makes me pretty angry that I can’t get it in my home state.”

Jeff Sessions Will Wage War on Marijuana as Attorney General—Let’s Stop Him!

No, the DEA Hasn’t Made CBD Oil Illegal… Yet

“People need to understand that there are federal laws that the DEA cannot bypass,” a hemp industry professional tells MintPress News regarding CBD oil.

December 28, 2016 
(MPN) Austin, TX An administrative change by the Drug Enforcement Administration has left users of CBD oil, a popular tincture derived from agricultural hemp, fearful that they could lose access to this vital health remedy.
CBD oil is currently considered legal in all 50 states, and agricultural hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant from which CBD oil is extracted, is legally grown in many states. While scientific research into its benefits is just beginning, preliminary results show that CBD oil can benefit conditions ranging from epilepsy to chronic pain.

But on Dec. 14, the DEA added a notice to the Federal Register that quietly informed the public that it had established “a new drug code for marihuana extract.” The DEA’s argument is that the agency is entitled to regulate CBD oil because all extracts contain trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis which remains illegal at the federal level.

Establishing this new drug code is, effectively, the first step toward classifying CBD oil alongside cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. This act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, alongside drugs like heroin which are considered to have no practical medical benefit.

However, legal experts and advocates for hemp doubt that the DEA has the mandate to easily ban CBD oil.

“They’re positioning themselves to potentially overstep their boundaries,” said John Ryan,  founder and director of Ananda Hemp, in an interview with MintPress News.

A subsidiary of the Australian hemp company EcoFibre Industries, Ananda Hemp produces CBD oil from the hundreds of acres of hemp the company grows in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ryan stressed that CBD oil is not going to “vanish overnight.” He continued:

“People need to understand that there are federal laws that the DEA cannot bypass. If they do, they can expect legal challenges from the industry.”

While Ryan expressed serious concerns about the DEA’s move, he said he believes the agency would struggle to make hemp illegal under current laws, thanks to multiple protections put in place by Congress. Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation in the United States as part of five-year, state-regulated pilot programs. Subsequent additions to the 2015 and 2016 Congressional Appropriations Act prohibited the DEA from going after the products produced under these pilot programs.

Ryan added that these appropriations acts “clearly contain language that permits the interstate transit and commerce of these products under the guise that it’s initial market research under the five-year pilot program.”

Indeed, the Denver-based Hoban Law Firm has already promised to challenge the DEA if it tried to ban CBD. On Thursday, Robert Hoban, the firm’s managing partner, called the new classification “an invalid rule” in an interview with Fox 31 Denver. He continued:

“At the end of the day, the DEA needs to sit down, read the Controlled Substances Act, read the farm bill and understand that what they’re saying has practical implications on commerce and on patients around this country. That’s not weight they should throw around so lightly.”

Speaking to MintPress, Ryan was critical of some media outlets for jumping to conclusions about the DEA ruling, which he said creates unnecessary fear among CBD oil users.

For example, Leafly, a popular cannabis news and information website, declared on Dec. 14, “New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal.”

“Why don’t we focus more on letting the public know that they are protected?” asked Ryan.

The DEA’s threat against CBD oil is just the latest controversial move by the agency to target over-the-counter herbal remedies. In August, the DEA threatened to ban kratom, a popular treatment for both chronic pain and the withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction to opioid painkillers, only to suspend their efforts amid a wave of popular protest.


This article (No, the DEA Hasn’t Made CBD Oil Illegal… Yet) by Kit O’Connell originally appeared on MintPressNews.com and was used with permission. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Reuters: After states legalized medical marijuana, traffic deaths fell

Legalization of medical marijuana is not linked with increased traffic fatalities, a new study finds. In some states, in fact, the number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped after medical marijuana laws were enacted.

“Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” said Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Since 1996, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Deaths dropped 11 percent on average in states that legalized medical marijuana, researchers discovered after analyzing 1.2 million traffic fatalities nationwide from 1985 through 2014.

The decrease in traffic fatalities was particularly striking – 12 percent – in 25- to 44-year-olds, an age group with a large percentage of registered medical marijuana users, the authors report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Though Santaella-Tenorio was surprised by the drop in traffic deaths, the results mirror the findings of another study of data from 19 states published in 2013 in The Journal of Law and Economics. It showed an 8 to 11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities during the first full year after legalization of medical marijuana.

“Public safety doesn’t decrease with increased access to marijuana, rather it improves,” Benjamin Hansen, one of the authors of the previous study, said in an email. Hansen, an economics professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene, was not involved in the current study.

He cautioned that both marijuana and alcohol are drugs that can impair driving.

It’s not clear why traffic deaths might drop when medical marijuana becomes legal, and the study can only show an association; it can’t prove cause and effect.

The authors of both studies suggest that marijuana users might be more aware of their impairment as a result of the drug than drinkers. It’s also possible, they say, that patients with access to medical marijuana have substituted weed at home for booze in bars and have stayed off the roads.

Or, they suggest, the drop in traffic fatalities could stem from other factors, such as an increased police presence following enactment of medical marijuana laws.

Law-enforcement authorities have yet to devise a way to test drivers for marijuana intoxication, and have raised concerns about drivers high on cannabis.

Though traffic deaths dropped following legalization of medical marijuana laws in seven states, fatality rates rose in Rhode Island and Connecticut, the study found.

California immediately cut traffic deaths by 16 percent following medical marijuana legalization and then saw a gradual increase, the study found. Researchers saw a similar trend in New Mexico, with an immediate reduction of more than 17 percent followed by an increase.

The findings highlight differences in various states’ medical marijuana laws and indicate the need for research on the particularities of how localities have implemented them, Santaella-Tenorio said.

Voters in Denver, Colorado approved a November ballot measure to allow public consumption of marijuana, Hansen noted. But, he said, “We don’t know the public health consequences of those types of policy changes yet.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2igtabO American Journal of Public Health, online December 20, 2016.